Nikki Fine

Nikki Fine wrote poetry as a child and then took a break from it for nearly thirty years, during which time she became a mother and a teacher. She rediscovered poetry whilst doing Oxford’s Diploma in Creative Writing. She has had two poems published and a third long-listed in the Fish poetry competition. Her first novel, ‘Moses in Chains’, will be available shortly from Amazon Kindle. She lives near Bicester with her husband and two cats.

On Writing Poetry


I have no inkling how to start,

And listen to these words in vain:

“Technique is just the Greek for art.”


The moment when true lovers part,

A wartime death, a drop of rain –

I have no inkling how to start.


I seek the words to set apart

A poem sure to bring me fame,

With no technique to make it art.


An idea’s there within my heart;

Thesauruses must take the strain

For I’ve no inkling how to start


And clogged up rhyme, and counterpart

Strict rhythm, make themselves the bane

Of technique, just the Greek for art!


Heroic couplets won’t impart

Enough to fool my struggling brain.

I have no inkling how to start

And technique’s all just Greek for art.

©  Nikki Fine    January 2012. (with thanks to Stephen Fry)

Responding to Poetry (after Henry Reed)


Tonight we have responding to poetry.  Last week,
We had reading of poetry.  And next week
We shall have what to do after reading.  But tonight,
Tonight we have responding to poetry.  The car park
Glistens in the half-term damp like frozen beetles,
And tonight we have responding to poetry.

This is economy of words.  And this
Is accessible, so that you know what it means
When you get there.  And there ought to be energy,
Which in this case you have not got.  Late night shoppers
Bustle through traffic and into Marks for their tea,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is not originality.  A parody such as this
Mos’ def’ (see the vernacular!) should be given the finger
Rather than thumbing through worn pages to find
The next victim.  You can do it quite easy with your brain.
Pedestrians do not use their brains, dodging traffic
And frequently giving the finger.

And this is a musical rhythm, iambic, with sounds
Repeatedly resonant to rest on the ground-
Floor of one’s auditory nerves, metaphorically
Stuttering over the page.  The blossoming love affairs
That linger in coffee shops are musically rhythmic
But also stutter when put on the page.

They call it using your brain; it is perfectly easy
Escaping worn pages with cerebral somersaults
Through darkening lines, use energy, and surprise,
Which in this case, we have not got.  And Summertown dwellers
Co-exist with the dark and the rain and the cars,
For tonight we have responding to poetry.

©  Nikki Fine  January 2010
Previously appeared in The Oxford Magazine, September 2010.